‘If You Think Compliance Is Expensive; Try Noncompliance’ – Abraham Lincoln
We hope you are coping with these extraordinary times and with all the changes you have had to make to be COVID-19 compliant. It’s definitely brought robust governance to the fore and has probably made us all really think what did we sign up to around protecting ourselves, our staff and our patients?
HCPC Professional declaration (ref HCPC -Uk.org)
'I continue to meet the HCPC's standards of proficiency for the safe and effective practice of my profession.
I continue to meet the HCPC's standards for continuing professional development'.
As clinical professionals, we know we have a duty of care to our patients, which means we have a legal responsibility to provide care to a recognised standard and to act in such a way that their safety is protected. If there is an issue, and we are challenged on how we are upholding our legal responsibility, could we provide the necessary evidence? Could we show we have mitigated risks to keep them safe?
We wanted to share a few thoughts about some of the things that should already be in place (but may not have been) and which COVID 19 has further highlighted:
- Do your patients receive information prior to treatment regarding what to expect, the right to a chaperone, the need to give consent, their data rights, their right to privacy, the right to complain etc. etc? Are you sure their consent is fully informed and does your policy provide the level of detail you expect from professionals, and could you provide evidence around obtaining consent?
- Are you working alone, and if so, is it safe; are risks assessed and documented, does your policy provide information and clear instruction regarding your process for working alone in safety? Are these processes in place and evidenced?
- If the patient is unhappy, do they know how to complain and does your policy cover your process? If the complaint escalated and legal advice was sought, could you evidence all you have done?
- Are your policies, signed off, records kept of sign off, and are there agreed and documented times for review and subsequent version control?
- How would you feel if someone you loved was harmed by a therapist and the evidence around ensuring they were safe was found to be lacking? Imagine the anguish if you found yourself in this position.
We return to the initial thought- are you taking your legal responsibility seriously and are you acting in a way that you, your staff, and your patients are protected?
It’s a sobering thought, but according to the BMJ, the NHS paid £2.4bn in clinical negligence claims in 2018-19, that equates to 2% of the entire budget for the NHS in England. This only identifies and underlines the severity and frequency of such claims and in an ever-changing complex world; compliance needs to be the steadfast foundation within any clinic setting to both ensure your corroboration but to also protect you and those who rely on you.
As clinicians our duty of care must remain the cornerstone of our practice, but even the most diligent professional can benefit from having their policies, practices and procedures undergo the stress test of an external audit.
Our Audit allows a safe space for reflection, consolidation, collaboration and progression within business, keeping your patients at the heart of what you do. Dynamic compliance is not something to be feared or dreaded; but when embraced can truly demonstrate your values as a clinician as well as appreciation and acknowledgment of the declaration you affirm through your continued registration.
- Manage risk
- Report concerns about safety
- Be open when things go wrong
- Keep records of your work
A thorough audit can facilitate all of these requirements, leaving you feeling in control and confidently able to demonstrate all of these areas and ready for any challenges ahead; an essential tool in today’s ever-changing landscape.
A significant thought perhaps, but hopefully a prod to get us all on that journey to robust compliance before something happens and we are tested.
Keep well, take care.
Sandra and Sarah - HCPG